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Sen. Mullet Newsroom

E News – 2018 Legislative session

Dear friends and neighbors,

Serving in the majority in the Washington Senate this Legislative Session presents a unique opportunity to promote common-sense policies to benefit our communities in the 5th Legislative District as well as people across the state. During this year’s short, 60-day session, I plan to focus on three such measures.

Senate Bill 6018 eliminates the fees credit bureaus charge customers to freeze their credit reports to protect their personal information. This bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions & Insurance earlier this week. It will soon move to the Senate floor for a vote of the whole Senate.

Senate Bill 6087 would allow holders of Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) accounts to directly share in investment gains in the program in recent years. This bill would give people six months to redeem GET units for their actual cash value (35 percent more than current value) and roll that amount into Washington’s new 529-college savings program.

I have been working for months as a key negotiator on passing a long-delayed $4.2 billion Capital Budget. Senate Democrats made passage of this badly needed and long-overdue budget our top priority in the opening days of session, and I am optimistic that we will be able to pass it in the next few days.

This session, I am now the Chair of the Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee, presiding over meetings to consider legislation on insurance company practices, rates and solvency; credit unions; consumer credit and lending; securities and investments; and landlord-tenant and housing issues.

In addition to the Education and Health Care committees that I sit on, I am a new member of the powerful Ways & Means Committee that deals with budget and spending issues.

This session, I am now the Chair of the Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee, presiding over meetings to consider legislation on insurance company practices, rates and solvency; credit unions; consumer credit and lending; securities and investments; and landlord-tenant and housing issues.

In addition to the Education and Health Care committees that I sit on, I am a new member of the powerful Ways & Means Committee that deals with budget and spending issues.

Despite the challenges of a short 60-day session, I am mindful of the incredible potential for action that it presents and the profound duty to use that power responsibly. As I do so, I pledge to always put you and our communities’ needs first.

Best regards,

January 18th, 2018|E-News, Uncategorized|
  • Permalink Gallery

    Upcoming hearing: Rollover of GET credits into college savings program

Upcoming hearing: Rollover of GET credits into college savings program

WHAT: The Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee will hear legislation creating a means for holders of Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) accounts to directly share in investment gains that the program experienced in recent years.

WHEN: 8 a.m. Tuesday in Senate Hearing Room 2, Cherberg Building

WATCH IT LIVE: https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2018011168

SUMMARY:

  • The GET program helps families save and prepare for their children’s higher education needs. Families can purchase individual units valued at 1/100th of the cost of one year of college tuition and fees that are guaranteed to keep pace with tuition and state-mandated fees at Washington’s highest-priced public university.
  • Funds generated through the sale of GET units are invested by the state acting as fiduciary, but state policy in recent years unintentionally led to greater-than-anticipated gains. GET units currently are valued at $103.86 per unit in tuition value. However, when funds on hand are compared against the GET program’s obligations, the actual cash value of an individual GET unit is approximately $144.
  • Senate Bill 6087, sponsored by Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, would return those gains to GET account holders, giving them six months to redeem units for the cash value and roll the amount into Washington’s 529 college savings program.
  • A hypothetical family that opts to redeem 100 GET units for the cash value would be able to roll nearly $14,400 into Washington’s 529 college savings program, directly realizing some $4,014 in gains.

QUOTE:

  • Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah: “State policy led to an unplanned surplus in the GET program, but that money belongs to Washington families and so does any gain realized on it. We should give those returns back to those families and give them the flexibility they need to make the choices about saving for higher education that work best for them.”
January 15th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Senate committee passes bill to ban credit freeze fees

OLYMPIA – A bill passed today by the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee would eliminate the fees that credit bureaus charge customers who want to freeze their credit reports to protect their personal information.

Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, the committee’s chair, sponsored Senate Bill 6018 in response to the major Equifax database hack last summer that exposed the private information of more than 143 million Americans.

“This bill is an important, bipartisan consumer protection measure that I’m hoping will pass out of the Senate very soon,” Mullet said. “Washington residents can’t afford a delay and need this problem solved.”

Following the Equifax hack, consumer watchdogs recommended that customers request a “credit freeze” from credit reporting agencies to ensure that the stolen information could not be exploited. A freeze blocks access to a credit report, which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts using stolen data.

Credit reporting agencies charge Washington residents $10 to temporarily freeze their credit reports. But a consumer who needs to unfreeze the account to generate the credit report necessary to buy a car, take out a mortgage or open a bank account must pay the fee again to each agency, meaning that those who freeze and unfreeze reports with all three major agencies actually face some $60 in fees.

“Consumers whose sensitive financial data has been exposed through no fault of their own should not have to pay to protect their credit rating,” Mullet said. “These high-profile, cyber security threats have created a lot of fear, but I’m confident that my bill will make it easier for people to protect themselves and their identities without financial penalties.”

Mullet noted that the bill is one of his top priorities for the 2018 legislative session, which began this week, and he said that he plans to continue pushing for it to be passed and signed into law quickly.

January 11th, 2018|Uncategorized|

E News- See you on the trail!

Dear friends and neighbors,

Often in my newsletters, I inform you of community improvement projects soon to come or still pending funding. Today I am happy to report that one of these projects has completed the trip from idea to reality.

Earlier this month, contractors finished paving the access road to the High Point trailhead at Tiger Mountain. They also added new striping to the road and improved the previously poorly marked car stalls. This is a major upgrade to the previous access point which was riddled with potholes and limited accessibility.

During the 2015 legislative session, I secured funding in the capital budget for this project and I am proud to see it finally completed.

Our district is blessed with one of the most beautiful natural environments in the state. During the 2018 legislative session, I will continue to fight to secure funding for these types of quality-of-life improvements to maintain and expand our ability to enjoy our region’s natural beauty. See you on the trail!

New majority, new responsibilities

Democrats gained a one-seat majority in the Senate after winning a special election in the 45th Legislative District. As a result, I will shift leadership roles and become the chair of the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee. Previously, I served as the lead Democrat. Now, as the chair, I will direct the agenda and guide the policy for this committee.

Additionally, I will continue to serve on the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education and Health Care committees, and I’ve gained a new position on the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

Thank you for your engagement,

sig

 

November 17th, 2017|E-News|
  • Permalink Gallery

    Mullet to become chair of Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee, gain seat on Ways & Means

Mullet to become chair of Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee, gain seat on Ways & Means

OLYMPIA – As Democrats take majority control of the Washington State Senate, Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, will shift leadership roles as chair of the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee.

Since 2014, Mullet has served as the lead Democrat on Financial Institutions & Insurance. As chair, he will direct the agenda and guide policy on the committee.  

“As chair of the committee, my priority remains to shape policies that create jobs, help small businesses thrive, and give families and individuals the opportunity to succeed,” Mullet said. “As a small business owner, I understand the balance necessary to create an equal playing field for small businesses and their employees.”

Mullet will also continue to serve on the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education and Health Care committees, and will gain a position on the powerful, budget-writing Ways & Means Committee.

“I look forward to applying my experience in finance to the important decisions we make on Ways & Means,” Mullet said. “In the past I’ve sometimes seen policies whose financial wisdom I’ve questioned; now it’s my job to help make sure what passes out is fiscally responsible and prudent, and I look forward to that.”

Democrats gained a one-seat majority in the Senate after winning a special election earlier this month in the 45th Legislative District. With Democrats back in the majority, they now have the power to set the agendas of Senate committees and floor action, determining which bills will be heard and brought up for votes.

 

November 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|

E News- Budget passed, shutdown avoided

Dear friends and neighbors,

After months of hard work and intense negotiations, we have finally passed an operating budget and solution to our K-12 funding crisis. In the end, our final product is the result of compromise. There are items in the budget that I agree with and items that are hard to swallow. This is the nature of compromise and the reality of governing in our split Legislature.

Faced with a state Supreme Court ruling that Washington was not adequately funding K-12 schools, the Legislature was tasked with coming up with a funding plan by the end of this session. In response, we passed a bill late Friday that will fully fund our schools primarily using a new statewide property tax.

Earlier this session, I argued for a K-12 funding solution that relied primarily on local control and keeping local tax dollars local. Even though the bill we passed tonight does not reflect my preference, it nevertheless sends a significant amount of additional funding to the school districts in our community and allows local districts to continue to pass levies for additional funds to support extracurricular programs. In fact, our school districts are in the top tier of funds allocated by the state.

I am also pleased with the policy and reforms embedded into the K-12 bill. It funds programs aimed at closing the opportunity gap and improves teacher compensation. It also creates a new school employee health care plan that is fully funded. As a result, teachers with children will be able to get coverage for their entire family without breaking the bank.

Even though I voted in support of the K-12 bill, I did not vote in favor of operating budget – the budget that pays for the day-to-day operations of the state. I strongly believe that it is not sustainable in the in the long run because it relies too deeply on accounting gimmicks. It also unwisely sweeps funding out of one of our state’s greatest job-creating and economic development program – the Public Works Trust Fund, which greatly benefits local communities throughout Washington state.

That said, our work in Olympia is not entirely done. We have yet to come to an agreement on the Capital Budget or a resolution to the Hirst water ruling. Stay tuned for more updates on our progress.

Thank you for your engagement,

July 5th, 2017|E-News, Uncategorized|

E News- Town hall meetings and college savings options

Dear friends and neighbors,

Don’t forget, this weekend I am hosting two town hall meetings. I hope you will join me for a productive and informative discussion about this year’s legislative session.

 

Tahoma School District Central Services

Saturday, April 29, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

25720 Maple Valley/Black Diamond Road SE

Maple Valley

 

Eagle Room at Issaquah Town Hall

Saturday, April 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

130 E Sunset Way

Issaquah

 

Getting the most bang for your buck when saving for college

As a result of the Legislature lowering college tuition rates last year and the financial markets reaching record highs, the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program – one of Washington’s college savings options – is now operating with a roughly $600 million surplus.

Currently, GET credits are valued at $117 per credit in tuition value. However, because of the surge in the markets, those credits are worth about $140 dollars in cash value. I believe that GET holders should be able to take advantage of the increased value of their investments.

I sponsored Senate Bill 5923 to allow GET credit holders to decide if they want to roll the full cash value of their GET credits into the new 529-college savings plan scheduled to open sometime this summer.

Ultimately, this is all about enhancing opportunities for families to save for their children’s futures. By creating an incentive for people to sign up for the 529 plan, we make that program viable. In the meantime, GET will continue to function as yet another reliable option for saving for college.

The bill has garnered bipartisan support and I am hopeful it gains traction during the special session.

Click here to read an article in the Seattle Times about my bill.

Thank you for your engagement,

April 28th, 2017|E-News|

E News- Session ends with work left to be done

Dear friends and neighbors,

Sunday marks the final day of the regularly scheduled 2017 legislative session. While I am disappointed that we are once again headed for a special session, my focus so far has been to introduce and pass legislation to help our district and our state. Those efforts succeeded in:

  • Accelerating the timing and funding for the development of a new interchange at State Route 18 and Interstate 90. The project was initially set to begin in 2023 but with these proposed changes, it will begin this year. Moving the timing up on this project was my top priority this session.
  • Making it easier for high school students who take AP classes to get college credit for their work. By establishing a standard AP score requirement for all state institutions of higher learning, we will make the application process easier to navigate so students can choose the college that best meets their academic needs without the fear of their hard-earned AP credits going to waste.
  • Strengthening the small business retirement marketplace I helped establish that will offer no-cost savings plans to make it easier for employees to save for retirement.

During the special session, I will continue to fight hard for the downtown revitalization project for Carnation, extra state support for the replacement of the old and undersized Black Diamond Elementary School with a new, state-of-the-art building, and negotiating a moderate solution to our K-12 funding crisis.

The Legislature has gone into a special session four out of the five years I have represented you in the Senate. As I have done every other time we have gone into a special session, I will refuse my per diem. I strongly believe that we should not be paid by your hard-earned tax dollars for not being able to do our job on time.

We are in this situation because budget negotiations have stalled. As one of the most moderate members in the Legislature, I see this problem as an opportunity to find middle ground. After all, compromise often results in policy that best balances the needs of all Washingtonians.

Thank you for your engagement,

 

April 21st, 2017|E-News|

Mullet to host two town hall meetings on April 29

OLYMPIA – Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, will host two town hall meetings in the 5th Legislative District on Saturday, April 29. The locations and times for the events are:

 

Maple Valley: 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Tahoma School District Central Services

25720 Maple Valley/Black Diamond Road SE

 

Issaquah: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Eagle Room at Issaquah Town Hall

130 E Sunset Way

Legislative town hall meetings are typically held during or soon after a legislative session to provide lawmakers and constituents the opportunity to discuss issues important to their districts. Mullet will provide updates on important bills that have been introduced during the 2017 legislative session as well as what’s happening with K-12 funding and transportation improvements.

 

 

April 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|

E News- Town Hall Meetings on April 29

Dear friends and neighbors,

Are you interested in how we are planning to fully-fund K-12 education or any other issue before the Legislature this year? If so, I hope you can join me Saturday, April 29 at one of my town hall meetings.

Town halls provide an open forum where I can hear directly from you about the issues that matter to you most and answer your questions.

Town hall locations and times:

Tahoma School District Central Services

Saturday, April 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

25720 Maple Valley/Black Diamond Road SE

Maple Valley

 

Eagle Room at Issaquah Town Hall

Saturday, April 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

130 E Sunset Way

Issaquah

 

I hope to you see you then and thank you for your engagement,

April 12th, 2017|E-News|